Auburn to offer multiple instructional strategies for second summer mini-term; University prepares for the return of on-campus instruction

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Following months of careful preparation, Auburn has announced plans for its second summer mini-term that include a variety of instructional delivery methods, among them, on-campus instruction.

The decision follows Gov. Kay Ivey's recently amended orders to further open the state of Alabama by permitting increased access to educational institutions beginning June 1, 2020. In March, the university announced its decision to suspend on-campus instruction for the full 10-week summer session and the first of two summer five-week mini-terms following guidance from public health officials due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beginning June 29, the university plans to offer multiple course sections during the second summer five-week mini-term through a variety of instructional delivery methods. Consistent with the updated state provisions, the options incorporate important measures designed to protect students, faculty, staff and the broader campus community.

"Following the Governor's guidelines, Auburn is preparing to start re-opening our campus to students slowly," said Provost Bill Hardgrave. "While the pandemic has not affected our ability to offer quality instruction, it did restrict our options for delivering instruction. With the new guidance from the state, we can utilize instructional delivery modalities that will enable our campus to implement important protocols as we prepare for the broader re-entry of students this fall."

In addition to the face-to-face and online options Auburn traditionally offers, the university will also offer blended and Hyflex courses. With blended courses, students benefit from both face-to-face instruction and remote learning. Hyflex courses provide a structure that gives students the flexibility of attending sessions in the classroom, participating online or doing both through synchronous delivery. As the university prepares to implement physical distancing guidelines across campus, both blended and Hyflex options will enable students to experience some face-to-face  instruction while remaining flexible to accommodate the institution's safety protocols.

More than 3,000 students are currently registered for courses in the second summer mini-term, with almost 150 faculty slated to teach. By working with their colleges and schools, faculty can select which of the four modalities best align with the learning outcomes for their courses to deliver instruction. The type of delivery method will be published so students can make informed choices when building their course schedule.

Opening academic buildings and offering face-to-face instruction during the latter part of the summer will allow the university to begin implementing several new protocols developed for students preparing to return in the fall. Among these, the university will employ a mobile COVID-19 health check for all students and faculty, and safe social distancing will be followed in classrooms. Following the university's transition to remote teaching this spring, going forward, all faculty are being asked to create a "syllabus B" in the event of a resurgence of the coronavirus that requires the institution to once again transition to full remote instruction.

"The second summer mini-term will allow us to glean important information for the fall," said Hardgrave. "The current plan is to implement some key elements for summer that we see as necessary for fall and prepare to welcome our students, faculty and staff back to learning environments that support the well-being of our campus."

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.